Mercedes dominated the opening practice session for the Spanish Grand Prix at the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya when Nico Rosberg set the pace with a 1:26.828 ahead of his World Champion teammate Lewis Hamilton by less than one-tenth of a second.
However, the German is under investigation by the Barcelona stewards after making an illegal entry in the pit lane when his silver arrow crossed the line after the safety bollard. A punishment of a grid penalty is possible for the infringement, but it remains unlikely he will be sanctioned.
Despite the amount of updates being brought to Montmelo and being put on the cars, Mercedes picked up from where they left off maintaining a one-second advantage over nearest rival Ferrari with Sebastian Vettel and Kimi Räikkönen both third- and fourth-fastest, respectively, ahead of both Toro Rosso drivers in Carlos Sainz Jr. and Max Verstappen.
Ferrari are believed to have tested up to 36 new parts this session while Daniil Kvyat’s RB9 sported a new front nose design. The Russian was seventh quickest, two places ahead of team mate Daniel Ricciardo, who was suffering engine issues yet again and is already using his fourth and final engine permitted this season before the penalties start kicking in. The Aussie was stuck in the pits while the mechanics worked on his power unit woes. He returned to the track with eight minutes remaining and completed just nine laps.
Meanwhile, making her first experience for the season was Susie Wolff, who stepped into Valtteri Bottas’ FW36 and set the fourteenth-fastest time, but was less than a second slower than her teammate Felipe Massa.
GP2 Series Champion Jolyon Palmer impressed for Lotus out pacing the under pressure Pastor Maldonado as he substituted for Romain Grosjean. It was the first out of three sessions this year that the young Englishman has finished ahead of Maldonado.
Sauber’s Raffaele Marciello was the fastest of the three substituted drivers taking part in the first practice session, finishing twelfth-fastest.
McLaren’s struggles seemed to continue, after both Fernando Alonso and Jenson Button finished in 15th and 16th in the new look graphite grey and orange MP4/30s, and both Honda-powered cars looked to be a handful for both former World Champions, with the team’s long awaited breakthrough still seemingly not close to fruition. Alonso spun his MP4/30 racer right at the end of the session.
The second practice session gets underway at 2:00pm local time (GMT +2).
|Formula 1 Gran Premio de España Pirelli 2015 – Free Practice 1 Results|
|Pos||Driver||Team / Entry||Time||Gap||Laps|
|1.||Nico Rosberg||Mercedes AMG Petronas F1W06 Hybrid||1:26.828||28|
|2.||Lewis Hamilton||Mercedes AMG Petronas F1W06 Hybrid||1:26.898||+ 0.070||27|
|3.||Sebastian Vettel||Scuderia Ferrari SF15-T||1:27.806||+ 0.978||21|
|4.||Kimi Räikkönen||Scuderia Ferrari SF15-T||1:27.832||+ 1.004||16|
|5.||Carlos Sainz||Scuderia Toro Rosso Renault STR10||1:28.132||+ 1.304||27|
|6.||Max Verstappen||Scuderia Toro Rosso Renault STR10||1:28.529||+ 1.701||23|
|7.||Daniil Kvyat||Infiniti Red Bull Racing Renault RB11||1:28.785||+ 1.957||7|
|8.||Felipe Massa||Williams Martini Racing Mercedes FW37||1:28.831||+ 2.003||21|
|9.||Daniel Ricciardo||Infiniti Red Bull Racing Renault RB11||1:29.075||+ 2.247||9|
|10.||Felipe Nasr||Sauber F1 Team Ferrari C34||1:29.140||+ 2.312||14|
|11.||Nico Hülkenberg||Sahara Force India Mercedes VJM08||1:29.409||+ 2.581||20|
|12.||Raffaele Marciello||Sauber F1 Team Ferrari C34||1:29.630||+ 2.802||15|
|13.||Jolyon Palmer||Lotus F1 Team Mercedes Ere Hybrid||1:29.676||+ 2.848||21|
|14.||Susie Wolff||Williams Martini Racing Mercedes FW37||1:29.708||+ 2.880||22|
|15.||Fernando Alonso||McLaren Honda MP4-30||1:29.813||+ 2.985||22|
|16.||Jenson Button||McLaren Honda MP4-30||1:29.817||+ 2.989||22|
|17.||Sergio Pérez||Sahara Force India Mercedes VJM08||1:30.096||+ 3.268||19|
|18.||Pastor Maldonado||Lotus F1 Team Mercedes Ere Hybrid||1:30.110||+ 3.282||7|
|19.||Will Stevens||Manor Marussia F1 Team Ferrari MR03||1:32.471||+ 5.643||22|
|20.||Roberto Merhi||Manor Marussia F1 Team Ferrari MR03||1:32.647||+ 5.819||20|
Image via Mercedes AMG F1 Team
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